May 10, 2018

Ask the Retail Experts: Managing self-checkouts



Dear Experts:

My company implemented self-checkouts a few years ago. Customers seem to love them, but they’re a challenge to properly manage. Any tips?

— Director, Store Operations


You’re not alone! We see this quite a bit as self-checkouts rise in popularity. Self-checkouts are a great convenience for customers, and they help stores keep lines moving quickly. But because they hold a large amount of cash that takes a lot of time to count and reconcile, they can create extra work for your staff on the back end. We’ve covered the pitfalls of manual self-checkout management before, but daily balancing of the units seems to be the biggest challenge for the retailers we work with.


While recycling self-checkouts generally hold less, accepting/dispensing units hold $2,000 to $10,000 at a time. When you’ve got four to six units in each store (or even more in some cases), the labor it takes to balance daily really adds up. It typically takes a bookkeeper or manager 20 to 25 minutes to count down and replenish a unit, meaning your stores’ staff could be spending up to 2.5 hours just balancing self-checkouts. That’s a big bite of out of a valued employee’s time.


Instead, look to shift to weekly or even monthly balancing. Labor to reconcile funds is vastly reduced, but don’t attempt this without the proper tools. Software that keeps you apprised of self-checkout units’ status is key to making the transition to weekly or monthly balancing. Such software ensures that units won’t fill up or run low and are available for customers more often. It will also keep your staff from having to open the units for service at peak times of day, reducing cash exposure and risk of theft.


When your self-checkout units are monitored and managed with a software platform, you’ll be able to know what they contain without daily balancing tying up your top employees. Your customers will have access to units that are ready to go with the denominations they need, and your team will be able to focus on activities that improve your stores.


Ask the Expert is a periodic feature of the Balance Innovations blog in which our team of experts answer your pressing questions about retail: cash, operations, customer experience – you name it. Have a question for one of our experts? Reach out at